Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is expected to stand trial on bribery charges in late April, a German court said in Munich on Thursday (January 16).

Ecclestone, 83, was charged in July with bribing former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale of a stake in the motor racing business to private equity firm CVC eight years ago.

Ecclestone has denied wrongdoing and said he will fight to clear his name.

"The decision to go to trial is normal and in no way is it a finding in the issue at hand. This is something that is up to the trial itself," Ecclestone's lawyers in Germany Sven Thomas and Norbert Scharf said in a statement.

"The alleged bribery never took place. The accusations that are based on Gribkowsky's testimony are incorrect and based on the facts offer no coherent picture."

Legal problems stemming from the CVC sale threaten to end Ecclestone's long hold on a sport that attracts hundreds of millions of television viewers to its series of grand prix races held around the globe.

The legal issues also make it hard to revisit stalled efforts to launch an initial public offering of Formula One on the Singapore stock market.

Ecclestone is also awaiting the outcome of a $100 million damages claim brought by German company Constantin Medien in the London High Court over his involvement in the deal.

That decision should come later in January or February. Win or lose, it will not be the last that the Formula One CEO hears of the matter as he faces a further damages claim in London.

Presented by Adam Justice